Green living is driven by our passion for hiking the shrinking back-country of our country and the growing alarm about the legacy we are leaving our children. Can we go on turning a blind eye to the changes going on around us forever? If you have a comfortable, rewarding and healthy lifestyle you probably think green living is not your problem. But many of the things we do today cannot be continued indefinitely without having an impact on our children’s future quality of life. We all know it’s important to have a healthy environment to provide us with clean air, water and food. But how often do you think about the choices you make each day and the long-term impact those choices have on our local and global environment as well as on our economy.
Understanding the roles that green living gadgets (yes especially solar powered ones), lifestyles and choices are a simple way you can make simple changes in the way you live that will benefit our environment and the planet, and can save you a ton of money! I suppose it is because my wife is a lifetime California girl and has spent most of her life green living she made me more aware of the small changes and thoughtful decisions about what and how much you consume and the waste and pollution you generate that can make a huge difference in the world around us.
If I got you to read this far, maybe you will consider utilizing four simple green living concepts in each of your decisions.
Reduce – Less is more… and here is how you keep score. You will know how well you are doing when your power bill goes down. Using less energy by turning off lights and unplugging gadgets and appliances that keep voltage reserves to make them power up faster is a start towards green living.
Reuse – If it is not broke, don’t pitch it. Refilling your printer’s ink jet toner, donating your old mobile phone to a charity to give to someone less fortunate and washing instead of throwing out those plastic zip lock bags you are now throwing away that take 100 years to break down.
Recycle – Recycling can make the largest difference in our planet than any of the other green ideas. Every year thousands of plastic containers end up in the landfills when they could be ground up and reused in some other form. Adding to the problem are the thousands of electronic waste that are often illegally exported to Asia from the U.S. and other industrialized countries.
Here are some more green living ideas:
Turn off lights when you are not in the room. Install LED light bulbs… yes.. LED not low watt bulbs. As long as you are changing, lets take the big leap and skip past the current trend right on to the next one. Turn appliances off at the switch or unplug them instead of leaving them on standby – standby can contribute to 11% of your home electricity bill. Don’t try and heat or cool your whole house, close doors to rooms not being used. Switch to solar green power. Install a water efficient low flow shower heads and save up to $100 per year. Take shorter showers cutting your shower each day by one minute will save over 368 gallons of water per year per person in the house. Fix leaking taps and toilets leaks can waste hundreds of gallons of water each week. Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth and shaving. Give unwanted clothes, toys or household items to friends or charity, or hold a garage sale and make some pocket money. Place a ‘No Junk Mail’ sticker on your mailbox. Go chemical-free when you clean lemon juice and vinegar works a treat. (My wife loves this one)
Say no to plastic bags by using reusable bags (and not just for groceries) keep them in the car. Costco bags work great for green living for carrying in the groceries and they will last for years. My wife just keeps 6 or so in the trunk of her car. Look for products with less layers of packaging or with recyclable packaging. Buy in bulk and choose refillable products. Choose fresh foods and go organic where possible. Fresh foods reduce packaging and energy, and can be healthier. Buy items with recycled content. You’re not really recycling unless you buy recycled. When buying new appliances choose models with high energy star ratings and water efficient models.
Green living means green driving. Car pool with a friend or co-worker. Use public transport whenever you can. Taking the train gives you time to read that would otherwise be wasted staring at traffic. Walk or bicycle and leave the car at home. You will be healthier and happier. Drive efficiently and reduce your fuel use. Don’t settle for anything less than 50 miles per gallon for your next car selection. (hey, have you taken the look at the Chevy Volt coming out this fall?) Get your car serviced regularly. Make sure your tires are kept at the correct air pressure. Remove any unnecessary weight from the car and take off your roof racks when not in use.
If you choose to take action incorporating green living into your lifestyle you will find a happier path to health, prosperity and the personal satisfaction you are making a difference in the world around you.